Thu10022014

Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

   20140901MetroCastweb

County begins real estate reassessment

Real estate reassessment by Blue Ridge Mass Appraisals of Staunton is getting underway in King George and will run through most of 2013.

King George is on a four-year reassessment cycle for property values, which means that when assessments are completed, they will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014. The Code of Virginia requires each locality to periodically perform a general reassessment to determine each property’s fair market value and its equalization in value to similar

properties. The last general reassessment was effective January 1, 2010.

Many real estate values had dropped in the recent past, particularly some of the higher-end properties. But it’s too early to call whether real estate values will be up or down when this upcoming process is completed. It will be dependent on the state of the economy when the assessment is finalized over a year from now.
 
David Hickey of Blue Ridge said of housing values, “Some of the value ranges of the residential properties have slowed down considerably. We are finding this happening more with the higher end of the local market.” He added that many sales may be under duress or foreclosure and those will be taken into consideration.

“Throughout the process we will continue to keep a close watch.” He added, “Fortunately, we have the capability to follow the market on a monthly basis through the end of the job and will make further adjustments if necessary before sending out the change of assessment notices.”

 

ASSESSMENT PROCESS
Blue Ridge provided a tentative timeline for the project.

Its study of sales began in October and ran through about the middle of November.

Field inspections recently began and those will go through much of next calendar year, through about the middle of September 2013.

Blue Ridge will personally inspect each parcel of improved land in the county. Assessors do not enter your home, but visually inspect structures and other improvements and elements of value located on the property.

The visits enable them to verify the existing records and update the value of all property in King George. Assessors will ring doorbells and ask basic questions about structures. Typical questions include those about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and verifying whether the house has a basement or not.

Near the end of this process, appraisal cards will be issued by Blue Ridge next Fall, based on their assessments and a thorough study of recent property sales of comparable properties.

Final assessments will be reviewed again near the end of the process prior to preparation of change of assessment notices to be mailed out to each property owner.

Property owners who disagree with their valuations will have two opportunities to dispute them.
First, they will be able to schedule an appointment to meet with the Blue Ridge assessors to discuss the values in late 2013. That information will be contained in the assessment notices.

In January 2014, members proposed for a Board of Equalization will by nominated by the Board of Supervisors from county residents, to be appointed by the Circuit Court. That equalization board will convene to further consider appeals of the assessments by landowners.

The new assessments will affect values and tax rates beginning with the first half tax bill payable in June 2014.  

CONTRACT AWARD
A contract was approved for award to Blue Ridge by the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 2 for the reassessment services. County Administrator Travis Quesenberry told the board the county had received three proposals which were evaluated by a selection committee.

The Blue Ridge contract for $153,075 was based on a recommendation that had considered proposal content, previous work experience, and meetings with the company.

The contract cost came in under budget, with Quesenberry noting the county had budgeted $174,200 for the reassessment service. Blue Ridge’s contract is about $50,000 less than the company had charged four years ago, with Quesenberry saying, “It’s because they have the back-up data and information and are already familiar with our processes.”

In fact, last time around, the total cost of the assessment contract came to $203,688, with payments spanning two fiscal years.

Quesenberry told The Journal that this time the total contract amount of $153,075 is encumbered in the current fiscal year 2012-13 budget, with no funds needed for the assessment contract during the 2013-14 budget.

—Phyllis Cook

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